Bond advises rest and rotation for quicks
New Zealand quick bowler Shane Bond has said there is a danger of losing more fast bowlers from Test cricket unless boards and team managements rest them periodically.
"Bowlers are almost going to be like pitchers, where you play a game and sit out the next, because of the amount of cricket played these days," Bond told Cricinfo. "I worry that fast bowlers are going to withdraw from Test cricket early to play limited-overs cricket."
New Zealand's often-injured pace spearhead, who retired from Test cricket last year, said Australia were possibly the only team in a position to give their fast bowlers a break. "They win more than they lose. They seem to rotate bowlers even during series and still win. People tend to forget they are resting and rotating and giving guys a week off here and there. A lot of the other teams, because they are struggling to win 50-50, are just playing their best team all the time, and they suffer when there are injuries.
Bond turned out for Kolkata Knight Riders in the recent IPL and is now on show in the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean. He tipped the short format to develop as a showcase for fast bowlers. "You are not risking injury [in Twenty20] like you would when bowling eight- to nine-over spells, which sometimes can be dangerous."
Bond said his laziness as a teenager was to blame for the repeated breakdowns for which he became notorious over an all-too-short Test career. "The thing that hurt me the most was, I was really lazy in my late teens. Because of that, I got a lot of back problems. So I missed a lot of years from 17 to 23. I never had a good base for bowling. I just lacked it.
"I went away from cricket, and then I am back and all of a sudden bowling proper fast. I went from a little bit of cricket to international cricket, where I am bowling fast. That catch-up was too much. The difference in intensity at domestic and international levels is massive and people don't appreciate how big it is."
He ruled out a return to Tests but said younger bowlers could continue in the format as long as they managed their comebacks from injuries wisely. "I still see it now when I play with guys who are injured and they want to be back for a game that is, say, six weeks down the line. You've just got to come back when you are fully fit. Too many people - and I have made the mistake in the past - sometimes rush back to make a tour or a series even when they are not a 100% fit. You are better off taking it step by step."
Bond said the decision to quit Tests had been hard for him because he had badly wanted to get to 150 wickets in the format. "When I came back against Pakistan, I felt I had the opportunity once again to achieve those goals, and then, bang, I got injured. It was demoralising.
"Test cricket is about getting people out and that's what I do: I got people out. A lot of goals I wanted to achieve were built around Test cricket, but I am also a realist. I realised every time I played four- or five-day cricket, I broke if I played few games on the bounce. It is just the way I played: I find it difficult to hold back. I just go hard. It hurt me."